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Molecule Description

This medicine is structurally classified as a Methylxanthine and used to treat lung diseases such as asthma and COPD (bronchitis, emphysema).

Uses of Theophylline

  • Asthma
  • COPD (bronchitis and emphysema)

Contraindications of Theophylline

When should one not use Theophylline

  • Patients with allergy to Theophylline or any other components in the product
  • Allergy to Xanthine products
  • Patients of porphyria

Side effects of Theophylline

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Shaking
  • Increased urination
  • Hypercalcemia (increased calcium level)

Precautions and Warnings of Theophylline


Can I take Theophylline during pregnancy?
Limited information is available about its safety in pregnancy, hence do not take this medicine unless considered essential by your physician.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Theophylline while breastfeeding?
Small amount of medicine passes into breastmilk. Continue to keep a watch on newborn baby if any side effects occur while breastfeeding.


Can I drive if I have consumed Theophylline?
If you are tired or dizzy after taking this medicine, you should not drive any vehicle.


Can I consume alcohol with Theophylline?
  • Alcohol causes increased clearance and renders this medicine less effective
  • Avoid alcohol consumption while on this treatment

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
You have fever, viral infection, thyroid problems, heart problems, difficulty in breathing, liver disease, any stomach infection.

Mode of Action of Theophylline

How Does It Work?

This medicine works in the airways by inhibiting phosphodiesterase enzyme and blocking adenosine receptors, thereby relaxes the smooth muscles of airways, opens breathing passages and decreases the lung's response to irritants.
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Interactions of Theophylline

Interactions with other medicines

It has interactions with numerous medicines that are used to treat ulcers like Cimetidine, antivirals like Acyclovir, steroids, oral contraceptives, antibiotics like Rifampicin, Erythromycin, Ciprofloxacin, Isoniazid.
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Interactions with food items

Food delays rate of absorption of medicine.

Dosage of Theophylline


Seek emergency medical help if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting that does not stop, seizures, muscle cramps, fast or irregular heartbeats and mood changes.
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Missed a Dose

Take medicine as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the regular dosing schedule. Do not take extra medicine to compensate for the missed dose.
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Content Details


Dr. Abhishek B L

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking this medicine?

A: Give a detailed account of your medical and surgical history. Also, mention to your doctor all the prescription and non-prescription medicines, herbal preparations and nutritional supplements that you may be taking before starting this medication.

Q: When and how to consume medicine?

A: This medicine should be taken orally, with or without food, usually once or twice daily in the morning or the evening.

Q: Why should Theophylline be consumed along with Ciprofloxacin antibiotic?

A: Ciprofloxacin blocks the metabolism of Theophylline in the liver, thereby the concentration level of Theophylline increases in blood, which can lead to seizures, vomiting and irregular heartbeats. Inform the doctor or change to another antibiotic if possible.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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